- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

WAGNER, S.D. (AP) - Several cities in South Dakota are cracking down on curfews for minors, but others rarely enforce the ordinance.

Wagner and Mitchell are two of the few cities in the region that are strict about juvenile curfews, The Daily Republic (http://bit.ly/298XvWh ) reported. In Wagner, for example, minors under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to be on public streets, parks, playgrounds, public places and public buildings, and other unsupervised places within city limits from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday and from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

“We’re just trying to make this a better town for us to raise kids,” Wagner Police Chief Tim Simonsen said.

Since the Wagner Police Department got serious about curfews after a rash of vandalism, it hasn’t had a report of vandalism in more than four weeks.

A handful of $100 citations have been issued to repeat offenders since mid-May, but most kids who are caught during curfew hours cooperate with law enforcement when they’re told to go home or are escorted to their home, said Simonsen.

“We’d been kind of lax on it because we hadn’t had a lot of issues, so we kind of give the kids the benefit of the doubt,” Simonsen said.

In Mitchell, minors under the age of 16 aren’t allowed to be out between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Mitchell Police Sgt. Adam Frerichs said any minor found outside after curfew is given a citation that’s passed on to the juvenile court system.

“The purpose of the curfew is just to prevent criminal conduct in the late hour and prevent kids from getting into trouble when parents or guardians aren’t around,” Frerichs said.

But curfews are rarely enforced or are nonexistent in smaller, rural towns because there’s usually either a lack of resources or a lack of need, according to officials.

Police chiefs in Freeman, Gregory and Kimball said each of their towns have a curfew, but they’re not strictly enforced by their departments. They also said it’s not common for minors in their respective towns to cause trouble during curfew hours.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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